How to Become a Librarian in Mississippi

The Mississippi legislatureMississippi Librarian Education established the Mississippi Library Commission in 1926, giving it the responsibilities of advising school libraries and public libraries and communities wishing to establish libraries. Public libraries in Mississippi are classified by the size of the population they serve:

  • Under 20,000- As of 2021, there are 12 Mississippi state public library systems falling into this classification
  • 20,001 to 40,000- As of 2021, there are 15 Mississippi state public library systems falling into this classification
  • 40,001 to 60,000- As of 2021, there are 8 Mississippi state public library systems falling into this classification
  • 60,001 to 80,000- As of 2021, there are 7 Mississippi state public library systems falling into this classification
  • 80,001 to 125,000- As of 2021, there are 4 Mississippi state public library systems falling into this classification
  • 125,000+- As of 2021, there are 5 Mississippi state public library systems falling into this classification
  • Independent – There are also 2 independent state public library systems in Mississippi that are not classified by the population they serve

The Mississippi Library Commission also maintains an up-to-date directory of public libraries in the state, organized by region. There are five regions into which libraries are classified: Delta Region, Southern Region, Northeast Region, Central Region, and Coastal Region.

Of course, public libraries are not the sole type of library found within Mississippi. There are school (K-12) libraries, academic (university and college) libraries, archives, medical libraries, law libraries, and other types of special libraries that are found statewide. Just as the types of libraries are numerous and diverse in Mississippi, so are the jobs for trained, educated librarians. 

What Does a Mississippi Librarian Do?

There are varying types of librarian positions found across Mississippi. The duties of a librarian may vary depending upon the particular job position, but in general, the following responsibilities are shared by librarians in Mississippi:

  • Plan and administer special programs for and services of the library
  • Supervise volunteers and other staff as assigned, coaching and mentoring them as required
  • Attend in-service workshops and conferences
  • Coordinate the selection of library materials 
  • Participate in community events to further the library’s mission and goals
  • Participate in professional activities statewide
  • Answer inquiries from library users, in person, via telephone, and online/via email
  • Use current technologies including social media, the circulation system, and computer software applications
  • Communicate effectively, patiently, and courteously with library patrons and staff

Mississippi Librarian Education Requirements

In order to become a librarian in Mississippi, you must obtain a Master of Library Science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. This degree must be from a school whose program has received accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA). There is one program in Mississippi, found at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. This program is fully online and offers both in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition rate. Concentrations available within this program include:

  • School Library License emphasis
  • Public Librarianship
  • Academic Librarianship
  • Special Librarianship
  • Technical Services

Librarian Certification in Mississippi

There is no certification required for Mississippi public librarians. School (K-12) librarians must have a teacher’s license as well as a bachelor’s degree (at minimum) in school library media. Praxis tests must also be taken in order to receive a school library license endorsement.

Where Do Librarians Work in Mississippi?

The ALA maintains a JobList which advertises open librarian positions nationwide.  Additionally, the Mississippi Library Commission maintains a list of Mississippi Library Jobs, and the Mississippi Library Association lists library jobs within the state and within nearby states.

Mississippi Librarian Salaries

Librarians in Mississippi earn an hourly mean wage of $21.27 and annual mean wage of $44,240, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Librarians working in some areas of the state make higher than average wages. For example:

  • Librarians working in the Gulfport/Biloxi/Pascagoula area make the highest wages of all librarians in the state, at $24.21 hourly and $50,350 annually.
  • Librarians working in the Southwest nonmetropolitan area of the state make the next highest wages, at $23.95 hourly and $49,820 yearly.

Job Prospects for Mississippi Librarians 

Librarian jobs in Mississippi are typically prevalent statewide, and can be found advertised on the job sites listed above when available. Some recent examples of jobs posted for Mississippi librarians include:

  • Reference Librarian- Alcorn State University, Lorman
    • Salary range: $40,400-$51,200 per year
    • Must have an MILS or MLS in order to apply
    • Must have two years of library instruction experience
    • Must have demonstrated experience in the usage of educational technologies and multimedia tools
  • Librarian – North Bolivar School District, Mound Bayou
    • Salary range: $39,600-$50,100 per year
    • Must have a bachelor’s degree in library science/school media
    • Must have a teaching license and library media endorsement
    • Must have experience working in a school library
  • Public Services Law Librarian – The University of Mississippi, University
    • Salary range: not given
    • Must have an MLIS or MLS, or a JD degree
    • Must have two years of experience working in a law library
  • Branch Manager – First Regional Library, Como
    • Salary range: $34,000-$39,500 per year
    • Must have a bachelor’s degree in library science
    • Candidates with two to five years of professional librarian experience are favored
  • Collections Librarian/Open Bank- Mississippi University for Women, Columbus
    • Salary range: $38,600-$48,800 per year
    • Must have an MLIS or MLS, or a terminal degree in a related field
    • Must have professional experience in an academic library
    • Candidates with experience with collection assessment techniques and tools, including IPEDS, are favored
    • Candidates with experience in collection development, acquisitions and serials management are favored
    • Candidates with experience with Tipasa and interlibrary loan systems like RapidILL are favored